The Ark Fortress is the most ancient historic place in Bukhara. Built on a 20-meter hill, in ancient times it represented a whole city with its inner life and cultural attitudes. It is surrounded by a fortress wall, and included the governor's palace, shops, stables, the Jami Mosque and even a prison for dangerous criminals. There were reception rooms for guests and officials, coronation rooms, as well as rooms for storing water and sand. The entire territory of the fortress occupied about 4 hectares, and its population was more than 3,000 people. The most famous residents of the Ark were the great scientists and poets of the Middle Ages such as Omar Khayyam, Abu Ali Ibn Sina, Al-Farabi, Ferdowsi and others. The famous citadel played the defense role against various external attacks.
Legend about the "Black Horse"
There are many legends about the creation of a strong defensive structure, one of which says that its creator was the son of Kay Kāvus (the mythical king of Iran) - Siyâvash hero, which in translation from Iranian means "The Black Horse." According to the legend, the intricate Siyâvash fell in love with one young lady. The father of this girl, local Emir, was against this romance and, so, he instructed Siyâvash to build a palace that would fit in a bull's skin. The smart young man cut a bull's skin and with its small pieces laid a huge rectangle, where he built a grandiose fortress, Ark Fortress that we observe nowadays.
The Citadel is a huge structure: there are 2 massive towers at the entrance, and towering ramp extends to the gates. A leather whip once hung on the wall as a symbol of the ruler's domination and power. However, despite its greatness and power, the fortress was destroyed and rebuilt from time to time. Currently, the State Archaeological Museum is located on the territory of the Ark, collecting crowds of tourists, and excursions. The ancient Ark are necessarily included in most tours, for the reason that the famous fortress is the main historical symbol of Bukhara.